AN: This is a short story that I wrote for my dolling site - 'MEG: A Drawing Board.' The layout isn't up there anymore, but I wanted to share the story. Parts of it are rather silly, but I feel it has a nice twist on the usual story of 'Persephone and Hades.'
The Story of Hades and Persephone
Retold by Meg Davis
When the earth was still young, the gods of Greece lived on Mount Olympus. Demeter, goddess of the harvest, had a daughter. She was virtuous and a praised beauty of Olympus. Her name was Persephone.
Persephone, though she loved her home dearly, longed every day to see more of the world. Sometimes the constant attention of her mother would annoy her. She longed for freedom.
Persephone would sometimes go to a glade at the mountain's base. Her mother didn't know about this place and Persephone would go there for sanctuary and peace. It was the one place she could go to be alone. There she would sing and dance, bath in the clear stream, and climb the trees of the glade.
As the years past and she grew older, Persephone began to long for someone to share her life with. Her mother wouldn't talk to her of marriage, so she had resigned herself to a life alone. Love seemed to be something denied to her.
One day when Persephone was in her glade, Hades, the lord of the Underworld, saw her. Once in awhile, he would come up to see the things that belonged to the living ground. When Hades saw Persephone, he loved her……He loved her for her exquisite face, her lovely voice, and her daring spirit. He had heard of Persephone, but had never thought that someone could be so beautiful.
Hades knew her mother, Demeter, and he knew that Demeter would never give her daughter's hand in marriage to him. Yet Hades heart ached when he thought of going back to the Underworld without Persephone. He resolved to take her by conquest.
When Persephone looked up and saw Hades standing among the trees, she wasn't afraid. She was curious. She didn't know who he was. He was not mortal, but he didn't look like the other gods of Olympus. When his red eyes met hers, she felt a shiver run down her spine.
She stood and addressed him. "Who are you, sir, and what may I do for you?"
Hades was surprised, he thought she would have screamed or tried to run away when she saw him. Hadn't she heard of the King of the Underworld?
He came out of the trees and bowed, saying. "Milady, my name is Hades and I am Lord of the Underworld."
She smiled and nodded politely. "I am Persephone, daughter of Demeter." Then one of her arched brows went up in question and she asked. "If you are the Lord of the Underworld, then I have been warned about you."
Hades smiled. His smile was evil, though he couldn't help it. "About me, Persephone?"
She stepped away and took up the flowers she had picked before. "Not about you, exactly, but everyone says that men from the Underworld are not to be trusted."
"Who is 'everyone'? Hades asked, coming closer.
"Oh, Aphrodite….Athena…and my mother." Persephone replied nonchalantly.
"Mothers should always be trusted," Hades stated.
Persephone shrugged. "I don't know….Sometimes they can be quite dreadful!"
Hades put his hand under her chin and raised her face towards him. "Do you trust me, Persephone?"
Persephone stared at him for awhile, but then laughed. "No, not really!" She said.
Hades smiled. "Then if I wanted to abduct you, take you back to my home, and make you my queen…Would that surprise you?"
Persephone was surprised, but not for that reason. "Why would you want to abduct me?"
Hades kissed her. "Because I love you, Persephone, I love you very dearly!"
Persephone smiled. "Then I consent to being abducted."
"I don't think I can abduct you with your consent." Hades stated, smiling at her.
Suddenly Persephone screamed and ran away. She turned back and mouthed 'catch me' to the surprised Hades. Hades ran after her and finally succeeded in catching the swift-footed girl. He swung her over his shoulder and carried her back into the woods, where a fissure, his entrance, awaited them.
Now, Hermes, the messenger of the gods, was flying over the glade. He heard Persephone's scream and saw her on the Hades' shoulders. He realized that she was being taken to the Underworld and flew swiftly to Mount Olympus to tell the other gods.
Demeter was horrified at the news. Hades, that monster, had abducted her baby princess? She demanded that her brother Zeus go to the Underworld and retrieve her daughter. Demeter wouldn't let anything on the earth grow until she had her daughter back. Zeus, because he didn't want the earth to die, relented. He sent Hermes to the Underworld to get Persephone back.
Meanwhile, Persephone and Hades had reached his home in the Underworld. Hades warned Persephone not to eat any food there. For Hades loved her and knew that Persephone wouldn't be happy in the Underworld all the time. He would have to have food from above brought down for her.
Swift Hermes reached the Underworld and found Hades. Persephone had hidden herself behind a pomegranate tree. She could hear all that Hermes and Hades said.
"Hail Hades," Hermes said with a nod. "I come to bring Persephone, daughter of Demeter, back to Mount Olympus."
"Hail, Hermes," Hades replied, "I will not give Persephone up. She is mine, and mine alone."
Hermes sighed and dropped the formality. "C'mon, Hades, I'm in a tight fix here. If I don't bring Persephone back, Demeter will have my flying shoes!"
"That witch," Hades remarked, thinking the problem over.
"Has Persephone eaten anything?" Hermes asked.
Hades didn't reply.
"If she hasn't," Hermes said slyly, "then I can take her back."
Hades didn't reply.
Persephone was scared now. She didn't want to leave Hades, but Hermes was her friend and she didn't want him in trouble either. Thinking quickly, she saw six pomegranates on the tree before her. She tore them from the branch and started to eat them. They tasted like nothing she had ever eaten before. When she finished the last one, she came out of her hiding place.
She came up to Hermes, asking. "Hermes, have you come to rescue me?"
Hermes smiled triumphantly at Hades and then turned to Persephone. "I have!"
"Then I am ready to go," she said, not glancing at Hades.
"Good," Hermes said, "as long as you haven't tasted the food and drink of the Underworld, you can come back to Mount Olympus."
Persephone pretended to look shocked, then scared. "Would six pomegranates make a big difference?"
Hermes' jaw dropped. He stared at Persephone, then at Hades, and then back to Persephone. Without a word, he flew away.
When he had gone, Hades turned to Persephone. "You are as brilliant as you are beautiful, Persephone."
"Thank you," she said with a smile, "but I still don't trust you."
Back at Mount Olympus, Demeter was outraged at Hermes failure. She was even angrier at her daughter's stupidity than anything. She went to Zeus and demanded that he do something.
Tired of his sister's nagging, Zeus passed judgment. For the six pomegranates she had eaten, Persephone would spend six months in the Underworld, and then six months with Demeter. Such was the will and way of Zeus.
When Hermes told Persephone the news, she pretended to be overjoyed. But when the messenger had left, she fell sobbing into her love's arms. Hades reassured her that this was how it must be. In the end, Persephone was happy. She did miss the sky and sun of the world above.
Thus ends the story of Persephone and Hades. It is said that Demeter refused to come to their wedding. Perhaps in the end, she came to tolerate her new son-in-law. Hermes, it is told, avoided the wrath of Demeter by marrying a muse, but perhaps that isn't true. As for Hades and Persephone, well, they lived happily ever after.